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What are examples of coming of age as a theme in Treasure Island?Hi, I have chosen...

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ellabellaxo | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2012 at 5:05 AM via web

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What are examples of coming of age as a theme in Treasure Island?

Hi, I have chosen to write about Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson for my assignment, and for this I am required to chose a theme from the text.

I have done some research and decided that a theme I may use is honor, in the sense that although the pirates may kill and steal, they still have a code of honor that they follow or they lose respect.

Also, I am considering coming of age as a theme, specifically in the case of Jim Hawkins.

Can anyone give me some further details of how (either of) these themes are potrayed in the book? References to specific quotes and examples would be much appreciated also.

Many thanks.

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webbed | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM (Answer #1)

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Treasure Island is a coming of age tale. In the beginning of the story, Jim Hawkins is shy and insecure; by the end of the story, however, he has become far more self-assured, far more mature. His experiences with the pirates, especially Long John Silver, have taught him not only seafaring skills, but also that not everyone can be taken at face value.  While Jim has his doubts about Long John early on in the story, the turning point of his relationship with the old pirate comes when Jim hides in the apple barrel and overhears Silver's mutinous plans.

Other memorable moments in the story include Jim's taking over the ship, his killing Israel Hands, and his success in outwitting the pirates. But the pirates are not all bad in terms of their influence on the boy. While they are underhanded, untrustworty, ruthless, and murderous thieves, they're also brave and highly charismatic. Because of this, Jim's maturation is more well-rounded than had he stayed at home with his mother.

One exceptional passage comes to mind that shows Jim's maturity. This is at the beginning of Chapter 27, when Jim realizes he's actually killed the coxswain. Though he is understandably distressed, he quickly recovers from the ordeal and once again is in control of his thoughts: "Gradually my mind came back again, my pulses quieted down to a more natural time, and I was once more in possession of myself."

All the best!



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